Wine and fish: The essence of Sardine Head
Wine and fish: The essence of Sardine Head

[This is the third part of a short series on Portland's new wine bars.—eds]

Taking over SweeDeeDee after hours Friday to Sunday, Sardine Head bill themselves as “Portland’s first natural wine dive bar.” That’s stretching it a bit, as it’s far too pleasant in SweeDeeDee for a dive bar vibe, and I’ve never been in one where I’ve been seated, nor where silverware comes wrapped in cloth napkins.

But I quibble. It’s great and very unpretentious. In fact, it’s further evidence that the city is filled with kind-hearted people who want everyone to enjoy good wine. The wine menu switches up regularly and it’s full of gems (recent favorite: a Chardonnay from Jura). There are glass pours from $8 and the approachable servers are more than happy to taste you on any of them.

Food comes in the form of Breton-influenced dishes—simple things, like halibut crude ($13) and radicchio salad ($10). I always end up going for the tinned fish, a southern European tradition that seems to be a thing in Portland these days. Candle-lit at nightfall, it gives Les Caves a run for its money in the romantic ambience stakes.

5202 N Albina,